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Lene H. Petersen

Instructional Assistant Professor
Department of Marine Biology

Phone: +1 (409) 740.4786
Fax: +1 (409) 740.5001

Ocean & Coastal Studies Bldg., Office 252


Get To Know Lene H. Petersen

What in your life drew you to your current field of study?

As I grew up near the North Sea (Denmark), I have always been fascinated by the ocean and the creatures living in or near it. However, even though the animals themselves were captivating, I have always wanted to learn more about the underlying (physiological, biochemical, genetic) mechanisms that enable animals to live in diverse habitats and cope with changes in their environment.

The main research focus of my lab is to understand how environmental (temperature, hypoxia, salinity) and anthropogenic (pharmaceuticals, contaminants) stressors affect animal physiology.  In particular, we are interested in understanding cardiovascular, respiratory, reproductive and metabolic responses to stressors.  We study effects of short (few hours/days) and long-term (weeks) stressors (individual or multiple) at all levels of biological organization (molecular, cellular, organ and whole-organism), and developmental stages (early life stage to adult).  Understanding how perturbations in the animal’s environment mechanistically affect survival is important in assisting conservation efforts.  We are currently studying physiological responses in American alligators and local Gulf of Mexico fish species.

What do you hope your students gain from studying or working with you?

My hope is to create excitement and curiosity about how animals mechanistically solve challenges such as changing oxygen levels, salinity, temperature or pollutants. I always try to encourage critical and independent thinking and innovative ways of studying animal physiology.

What are you passionate about in your personal life?

I enjoy spending time with my husband and our standard poodle, Ernie! I am a big animal lover and would love to have more animals if time allowed. However, for now we take Ernie to the beach and teach him tricks at home.

Ph.D. Fish Physiology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 2010
Physiology/Cardiovascular Physiology, University of Southern Denmark, 2001
Biology/Physiology, University of Southern Denmark, 1997
Courses Taught
Motyka, R., Norin, T., Petersen, L.H., Huggett, D.B. and Gamperl, A.K. Long-Term hypoxia exposure alters the cardiorespiratory physiology of steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), but does not affect their upper thermal tolerance. (2017). J. Therm. Biol. 68:149-161.

Petersen, L.H. Burleson, M.L and Huggett, D.B. Temperature and species-specific effects on B3-adrenergic receptor cardiac regulation in two freshwater teleosts: channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) and common carp (Cyprinus carpio). (2015). Comp. Biochem. Physiol. A 185: 132-141.

Petersen, L.H., Hala D., Carty D., Cantu M. and Huggett D.B. Effects of Progesterone and Norethindrone on Female Fathead Minnow (Pimephales promelas) Steroidogenesis. (2015). Environ. Toxicol.Chem. 34:379-390.

Petersen, L.H., Needham, S.L., Burleson, M.L., Overturf, M.D. and Huggett, D.B. Involvement of β3-adrenergic receptors in in vivo cardiovascular function in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). (2013). Comp. Biochem. Physiol. A. 164: 291-300.

Petersen, L.H. and Gamperl, A.K. Cod (Gadus morhua) cardiorespiratory physiology and hypoxia following acclimation to low-oxygen conditions. (2011). Physiol. Biochem. Zool. 84: 18-31.

Petersen, LH., Dzialowski, E. and Huggett, D.B. The interactive effects of a gradual temperature decrease and long-term food deprivation on cardiac and hepatic blood flow in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). (2011). Comp. Biochem. Physiol. A. 160: 311-319.

Petersen, L.H. and Gamperl, A.K. Effects of acute and chronic hypoxic effects on the swimming performance, metabolic capacity and cardiac function of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). (2010). J. Exp. Biol. 213: 808-819.

Petersen, L.H. and Gamperl, A.K. In situ cardiac function in Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua): Effects of acute and chronic hypoxia. (2010). J. Exp. Biol. 213: 820-830.

Hall, J.R., Short, C.E., Petersen, L.H., Stacey, J., Gamperl, A.K. and Driedzic, W.R. Expression levels of genes associated with oxygen utilization, glucose transport and glucose phosphorylation in hypoxia exposed Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). (2009). Comp. Biochem. Physiol. D. 4: 128-138.

Agnisola, C., Petersen, L.H. and Mustafa, T. Effect of coronary perfusion on the basal performance, volume loading and oxygen consumption in the isolated resistance-headed heart of the trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). (2003). J. Exp. Biol. 206: 4003-4010.
July 12-16. 2017: Physiological effects of salt stress in juvenile American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis). Faulkner, P., Hala, D. and Petersen, L.H.. Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (JMIH). Austin, TX.

June 12-16, 2016: Transgenerational effects of a synthetic progestin, norethindrone, on fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas). Petersen, L.H., Hala, D., Paulos, P. and Huggett, D.B., International Congress on the Biology of Fish. San Marcos, TX. June 12-16. 2016.

June 21-25. 2015: In Silico pathway analysis linking perturbed steroidogenesis with gonad growth in fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) exposed to 17α-ethynylestradiol. Hala, D., Petersen, L.H. Martinović, D. and Huggett, D.B.. North American Society for Comparative Endocrinologists (NASCE). Ottawa, Canada.

June 27-July 2. 2009: A comprehensive examination of the effects of chronic hypoxia on the cardiorespiratory physiology of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). Petersen, L.H. and Gamperl, A.K.. Society of Experimental Biology. Annual meeting. Glasgow, Scotland.
Current Graduate Students
2016 - present: Patricia Faulkner, Ph.D. Student, Co-Chair
2018 - present: Joshua Leleux, Master's Student, Co-Chair